The faculty and students in the Robert Reich School of Landscape Architecture know what it takes to be the best. The school is currently ranked number one in undergraduate landscape architecture and the number three graduate program in the country.
Lake Douglas, associate dean of research and development of the school, said the rankings were published by Design Intelligence, the most widely accepted measure within the design professions.
Douglas said the school is consistently ranked as one of the best in the nation, and he believes it is because of the unique travel opportunities the students can experience as part of the advanced topic studios the school offers.
The advanced topic studios are offered to fifth year undergraduates and third year master of landscape architecture students and aim to give them hands-on experience in the field.
Fifth year undergraduate Chip Beyt is currently participating in an advanced topic studio that works with responsive systems and synthetic landscapes in Oakland, Calif. in order to advance the overall quality of the city. He said these studios contribute to the school’s success.
Bradley Cantrell, director of the school, said the interaction between faculty, students and alumni allows the school to maintain its elite status.
“The same way our students are great when they’re here, they’re great when they leave,” he said.
Cantrell said the school has many successful graduates with their own practices who will come back to the school and assist the current students.
Beyt said it was because of an alumnus that he received an internship in Costa Rica, something that is true for many landscape architecture students.
Fifth year undergraduate Christine Johnson said she has had three internships since her third year in the program. She said she has participated in an advanced topic studio in the Dominican Republic and an internship in Sydney, Australia.
Johnson said the faculty are also useful resources for the students, helping them with job placement and internships.
“Teachers will help you out,” she said. “I got [my internship] through connections with teachers.”
Douglas and Cantrell said Robert Reich’s legacy has positively influenced the school.
Reich had a spirit of bringing people from all over the globe to Louisiana and then taking people from the state and showing them the world, an idea that still resonates within the school, Cantrell said.
Douglas said Reich was a paternal figure who understood every student had something to offer and would often help them locate jobs.
Reich believed in an atmosphere of acceptance of new ideas, Douglas said.
Cantrell said although the school pushes research and travel opportunities, there is a balance between architectural theory and research that gives students a well-rounded education and lets them graduate ready to practice landscape architecture.